RAIN 12/22: Katz360 severs rep deal with Pandora

Michael Schmitt
December 22, 2011 - 1:25pm

Pandora dropped by Katz360Katz360, the Clear Channel-owned online ad sales network, has dropped Pandora as a client. Katz360 will no longer sell ads for the webcaster after two years of doing so (find our coverage from August 2009 here). The ad rep firm will transfer its accounts to Pandora's in-house sales team over the next 30 days.

As for why Katz360 dropped Pandora, Katz Radio Group EVP Mary Beth Garber -- an outspoken critic of Pandora -- says it become "too cumbersome to try to fit [Pandora's] completely different requirements into the [sales] packages."

Katz360 also represents pureplay web radio services like AccuRadio (which is run by the same folks who bring you RAIN) and Digitally Imported.

Katz360 president Brian Benedik reportedly told Pandora chief revenue officer John Trimble via email: "Our core Katz Media Group broadcaster clients have demanded that we focus our Katz360 online audio efforts towards their digital assets moving forward."

Katz360"This is hardly a massive blow to Pandora," argues Jennifer Lane in Audio4Cast (Lane founded Net Radio Sales, which was acquired by Katz in 2007). "I am sure that both [Katz360 competitors] Triton [Digital] and TargetSpot will be eager to add them as clients.

"It is a blow to Internet radio as I see it – Clear Channel and Katz have declared war and refused to work together with Pandora to develop the Internet radio marketplace."

The move comes just days after Arbitron issued a statement advising against comparing its own survey-based PPM audience estimates to those of "Internet music services" based on server logs (RAIN coverage here). Many observers argued the statement was in response to Pandora's audience stats released recently (RAIN coverage here).

You can find Jennifer Lane's coverage in Audio4Cast here and more from Inside Radio by subscribing to their daily newsletter here.

Paul Maloney
December 22, 2011 - 1:25pm

Broadcast radio's squabbling over Pandora's attempts to assert itself as a major player for radio ad dollars has made it on to the pages of The Wall Street Journal. And one expert told the paper this split may end up costing both Pandora and traditional radio in the long run.

You'll recall (here) Arbitron this week issued a statement -- apparently at the behest of its broadcast radio customers -- critical of listening estimates for Internet radio services based on server log data, self-reported listener demographic info, and without a "detailed description of methodology" (like Arbitron's). Market research firm Edison Research has recently been issuing estimates of Pandora's listening with metrics identical to traditional broadcast radio studies (more here). Pandora founder Tim Westergren called Arbitron's statement part of a "concerted effort" to keep Pandora out of the radio ad market as the online radio medium grows into real competition for radio.

"The broadcast industry does not want the world to know about us, basically."

This week's Arbitron statement came as the company is trying to convince its broadcaster clients to support its upcoming Total Audience Measurement product (more here), designed to measure and consolidate on-air, online, and satellite listening.

Late yesterday came news that Clear Channel-owned online ad-sales firm Katz360 -- like Arbitron, a company the counts broadcast radio groups as its main clients -- dropped Pandora from their sales network (see today's top story). (Pandora is far-and-away the most-listened-to webcaster online, dwarfing the online audiences of broadcasters like Clear Channel, CBS Radio, and Cumulus.)

Marketers are making it clear, however, they want a more "all-in-one," cross-platform ratings system to better target their ad messages (see the second-half of this recent RAIN story). Matt Feinberg, a former radio ad-buyer, told the Journal, "There are so many media vehicles out there for consideration the harder you make it for an advertiser or agency to make a decision, the quicker they will move on."

Wall Street Journal subscribers can read their coverage here.

Michael Schmitt
December 22, 2011 - 1:25pm

Myspace RadioSocial network Myspace has launched a new music service called Myspace Radio. It allows users to listen to a continuous stream of music either from a specific artist or for a genre.

Myspace Radio also features a list of similar songs and artists to the currently-playing track. Users can skip songs and each track links to the artist's profile on Myspace. Those profiles let users listen to music posted by the artist in an "on-demand" environment. The new Myspace Radio offers a more "lean-back" way to listen to music on the social network.

You can find Myspace's announcement here.